This guest post is written by Lucy Bulkeley from Lucy’s Life & Bikes as she prepares for her first London Marathon, and first ever marathon too! Get on the ground tips from an everyday athlete taking on a huge 26 mile challenge.
We’ll be checking in post marathon to see how she got on and her run-day recommendations.
Long distance running tips from Lucy
Entering the London Marathon ballot was quite off the cuff for me to be honest. I’d not yet got hooked on the world of road racing on my bike yet and was watching Lucy Charles complete an Ironman in South Africa.
All of a sudden I was planning out my journey to complete an Ironman, so I thought I should probably do a marathon first to see how I get on. Naturally I do one of the most well known marathons in the world…
Needless to say the training has been a bit of a shock to the system. There’s no doubt about cycling being ‘my sport’, so getting my body use to running hasn’t been easy.
Being a complete newbie to long distance running, there’s a few things I’ve learnt along the way.
Any run is better than no run
When I was starting out with the running, it was quite difficult for me to get out of the door after work. When I’ve been on my feet all day at work…a run is the last thing I want to do. Eventually I had to change my mentality towards it all and think even the smallest run will be better than not going out at all. Even if it’s just to loosen my muscles off for a good stretch afterwards.
Compression socks can be life savers…
One reason I wasn’t going out was due to issues with my ankles/calf muscles. Even post sports massage I was still in agony. It turns out to just be an element of long distance running. It was only thanks to some compression socks that I could get back running.
…but that doesn’t mean you can skip stretching post-run.
Even with how amazing the compression socks are, it’s still super important to stretch post-run. Otherwise you’ll just end up with tight muscles causing all sorts of problems.
Leave some breathing space for your toes when buying new shoes
I had a pair of old trail trainers that didn’t really make the cut when the volume of running I was doing started to increase. It’s so easy to order trainers online, but if you’re looking for your first pair of running shoes, you can’t afford to miss the valuable knowledge you’ll find in a local running shop. The shop assistant carried out a gait analysis (running style) and provided shoes to suit. They can provide invaluable information on sizing. I thought a tight fit would be the best when it comes to running, but I didn’t even think about accommodating for my foot expanding over long distances. You need some space around your toes too!
Training doesn’t need to be complicated
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in training plans on the internet. The worst for me was Twitter and seeing what point others are at in their training. Other people might be doing 5am runs or running 5 miles more than you already, but good for them. If that doesn’t work for you then don’t do it. There’s no point training for a marathon if it’s making you miserable. All I did was set how far I wanted to run by the end of each month. Then took inspiration from Running for my Life author, Rachel Ann Cullen, and enter a few races to prepare too. That was the best thing I could have done too just to get use to running in amongst a lot of people.
To cut it short, just run your own race and do it for yourself too.